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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

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Required Seismic Certification and Special Inspections for Nonstructural Components and Designated Seismic Systems Effective July 1, 2017

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July 27, 2016

Contact: Ross Caron, BDS Public Information Officer, (503) 823-4268  

Required Seismic Certification and Special Inspections for Nonstructural Components and Designated Seismic Systems Effective July 1, 2017

Effective July 1, 2017, the Bureau of Development Services (BDS) will start implementing the provisions of the 2014 Oregon Structural Specialty Code (OSSC) section 1705.11.4 requiring special inspections of designated seismic systems and section 1705.12.3 requiring seismic certification of certain nonstructural components for structures designated as Risk Category III or IV.

Background: After a major earthquake, building systems often sustain more damage than the structure itself. Some of these systems are necessary for the building to function after an earthquake, such as key electrical, plumbing, fire and mechanical (gas, heating, ventilating) systems. It is particularly important to ensure the following types of buildings remain functional and allow for the continued operation of the building after an earthquake: buildings that represent a substantial hazard to human life such as high occupancy public assemblies; schools; water and waste treatment facilities; public utility facilities and facilities with large quantities of toxic and explosive materials; buildings that are designated as essential facilities such as hospitals and first responder facilities; designated emergency operation centers: designated emergency shelters: water storage facilities: and water pump structures needed to maintain water pressure for fire suppression. 

As part of the City’s overall disaster and earthquake resiliency plan, BDS recommends using the Office of Health Planning and Development (State of California) procedures as the model for seismic certification of nonstructural components. Certification requirements will be applicable only to Essential Facilities and High Occupancy Structures (Risk Category III and IV per the 2014 OSSC Table 1604.5). 

BDS will require seismic certification and special inspections only for new construction or on existing buildings when the system is upgraded, equipment is replaced, or a Change of Occupancy occurs whereby the building is reclassified to a Risk Category III or IV.  

BDS is developing a Code Guide with additional information on this topic that will be circulated to stakeholder groups in the near future for review and comment. 

Contact Information:  

Amit Kumar, Senior Engineer, at or at 503-823-7561, or
Fred Deis, Section Manager, at or 503-823-7543.